Picture 15
by Diana Smith Bolton

After Sharon Olds, with help from the OED
            “… as one might search through matter for matter one could like                  being made of.”

     I. Maiden

It cannot surprise. From those high
countries who muddled their tongues—
the relations of the stem are doubtful.
First maker, a craftsman, my father forged
four lives. Work-inheritor, I (wordsmith)
follow his blows, which, taken by weight, mold
not wood or ore, but beat out fortune
through the anvil that is a name.

     II. Married

But now I smith a bolt of it to risk
settlement. A fool’s bolt is soon shot.
Handful of quarrels roll up in a piece
of linen to weigh this worker. I venture
that a fastening pin can lock two houses.
Oh, lock my house— I cross that archway
and leave, in the fold of a book,
buttercups. The quiver in my smithy
is the gold and silver provincial pheasant
sleeping under the noise of hammers
Let’s try this thunder, weave our leg-irons
in patronyms.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: On my wedding day, May 20, 2012.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I really love this poem and was inspired to write it shortly after I got married in 2012. At the time, I was reading a lot of Sharon Olds and came across her poem “Maiden Name.” I immediately had to write an imitation of it, using the Oxford English Dictionary. This poem was the result.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diana Smith Bolton is the founding editor of District Lit. Her work has recently appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Coldnoon, Jet Fuel Review, Lines + Stars, and elsewhere. She lives in northern Virginia.